Storm add further ammunition

Mike Williams, competing for New Jersey college team Rutgers, is one of two US imports due to suit up for Hemel Storm this season.
Mike Williams, competing for New Jersey college team Rutgers, is one of two US imports due to suit up for Hemel Storm this season.

Hemel Storm are continuing to strengthen their squad ahead of the fast-approaching new league season later this month.

American 6ft 2ins guard Mike Williams, who has played for New Jersey college team Rutgers for the past four years, is the latest overseas name to join the Storm ranks.

It follows hot on the heels of last week’s signing of 6ft 6ins forward Greg Poleon, who has signed following the end of his college tenure at Pace University in New York.

Subject to visa clearance, it will be the first time a Storm roster has boasted two American talents since top-class basketball returned to the town in 2010.

The 22-year-old Williams captained Rutgers in his final year and was considered by many to be the heart and soul of the team. He is described as a hard worker, shoots with range and is a good defender.

He was also one of the best rebounding guards in his college division last season.

Williams, who hails from Brooklyn, New York, said: “I am ecstatic to be able to put on the orange and black uniform to represent the Hemel Storm organisation, compete with my new team-mates, as well as being excited to play in front of the Storm faithful.

“I would like to thank [Storm] chairman Tony Humphrey, director of basketball Jon Burnell and the entire Hemel Storm family for giving me this opportunity.”

Meanwhile, Storm have further bolstered their squad by signing promising point guard Nick Allin and 7ft 3ins centre Ollie Dykes.

Allin, 22, and Dykes, 21, played for Storm at the recent Howell Tournament and against the Team USA Select side in Hemel’s friendly victory last weekend, both providing valuable minutes and giving a good account of themselves. Their performances have convinced Hemel’s management to sign them to contracts.

Allin has been involved with the club for many years and represented Hemel’s second team in Division Four last term, where he was one of the league’s top players, scoring consistently and defending the opponent’s best player to a high level.

Dykes, who will become the league’s tallest player, should offer great protection around the basket and be a force to be reckoned with in the low-post.

At the Howell Tournament, Dykes’ ability to be dominant on defence was recognised as he picked up best defensive player honours.

The signings are part of a plan to develop young, talented players who will represent Storm in the years to come, the club said.

They plan to use Allin and Dykes for Storm in Division One as well as for the second-string side in Division Three, with the intention of developing their experience on and off the court.

The new signings will be a huge boost to new Storm head coach Dru Spinks ahead of the season-opener in ten days’ time.

Hemel start their Division One campaign with an away trip to Liverpool next Saturday, September 28.

Their first home game is on Saturday, October 5, (7pm tip-off) when Nottingham Hoods visit Hemel Hempstead Leisure Centre.

For tickets or further details, visit the website www.stormbasketball.net.